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tv   Up Front 2017 Ep 31  Al Jazeera  October 29, 2017 7:32am-8:01am AST

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following september's controversial secession river and. the bodies of thirty six unidentified people have been found in a village near the eastern libyan city of benghazi locals made the grim discovery they say the victims were critics of renegade general have a have to offer some of the bodies were found with signs of torture and gunshot wounds to the head in kenya president who are kenyatta has won more than ninety seven percent of the vote that's according to unofficial results on the repeat presidential election turnout estimated to be less than thirty five percent voting was suspended in some opposition strongholds on the election has been mobbed by violence cuban officials of the night any involvement in the alleged sonic attacks that led to more than twenty u.s. embassy staff recently being recalled from havana and us as the stop or injured at the office and residences people said there's no evidence the sonic attacks took place. on egypt's launched a major shakeup of its security services a week out an attack in giza province that left at least sixteen police officers
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dead mohammad ghazi has been named the new chief of staff of the armed forces he replaces mahmoud ghazi the two men are not related but those are the headlines the news continues here on al jazeera off the upfront stage and that's a watching by foot up. zero. where every u.s. . one hundred years since the british government paved the way for the creation of israel with its balfour declaration we ask what the legacy is for israel palestine and beyond and up for a special. one
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nation solemnly promise into a second nation the country of a third that's how one writer famously described the balfour declaration the declaration by then british foreign minister author balfour on the second of the one nine hundred seventeen that said quote his majesty's government view would favor the establishment in palestine of a national home for the jewish people one hundred years later the conflict between israelis and palestinians continues with no sign of any sort of resolution anytime soon so should the balfour declaration be celebrated as the first step towards the establishment of the state of israel and self-determination for the jewish people want to cry it is an act of betrayal by the british who had also promised palestine to the arabs to debate this i'm joined by god a commie a british palestinian author and lecturer at exeter university's institute of arab and islamic studies martin kramer an israeli american historian and founding president of college in jerusalem and ian black
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a british journalist former middle east editor for the guardian and author of a new book on the history of the conflict anime's and neighbors thank you all for joining me on up front and let me start with you the british prime minister trees a man's promise to mark with pride the seventeen area of the balfour declaration next week while members of the palestinian authority of call for an official apology from the u.k. for protests a british embassies worldwide which one is in your view is powerful something to celebrate to mark with pride or to apologize for. their courage and enormously important for a short. loss to consecrate. until today. if you're a palestinian it marks the beginning of a process which lead to the loss of your homeland your disposition the all the things that the palestinians still suffer from today what's fascinating about it is that those two views are completely irreconcilable which is why people who support
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israel israeli designers and many jews are celebrating most palestinians are indeed mourning and protesting the british government has found itself coach in the middle because of its role a century ago in a way it's an encapsulation of the dead look at the heart of the continuing crisis in crimea will you be celebrating balfour in the british government's role in the creation of israel next week neither celebrating nor lamenting more attempting to understand exactly what happened what the real meaning of the balfour declaration is what its real consequences were short term and long term it represents a milestone but a lot had to happen between one hundred seventeen and one hundred forty seven for jewish state to come into being and i can point to any number of points along the way in which an entirely different scenario could have unfolded if people had made other decisions and had had other priorities so the balfour declaration is a point of departure but they were not there was no inevitability just built into
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the balfour declaration leading inexorably to the creation of a jewish state people had to make the right decisions and some people had to make the wrong decisions god says he will be not celebrating no let mentoring with old palestinians be lamenting the balfour declaration costs of course what else i mean we are the indigenous population where the people who paid the price for these zionist idea of establishing a jewish state and not only that for that but of course for the british the british . facilitation of this project. and the balfour declaration was the queen known for of the creation of israel i mean martin kramer is right in saying at least that maybe you know it needed more and maybe something might have prevented it from happening but there's
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no question the buffer that with the balfour declaration they would be israel i think it's as simple as that and of course for me a direct victim of balfour because i was born in jerusalem my family had to leave in one nine hundred forty eight as the state of israel was being created i had been in exile ever since others were not so lucky are living in refugee camps and so on and so forth these depredations are the direct result of britain enabling the zionist project to take root in my homeland and to come to fruition as a result of which we were expelled dispossessed in order to make room for the zionists ok let me put that point in blood gotta mentions the word british collusion others talk of british betrayal the historian elizabeth monroe called it one of the greatest mistakes in our imperial history what do you think drove the
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british and arthur balfour then foreign secretary to issue the declaration but then some people say it was driven by you know wanting to protect imperial interests in the middle east others say it was anti semitic in some ways because some members of the british established wanted to get rid of jews from england and sent them to what do you think from your study of this issue drove that momentous decision i think we have to go back to look at the ground this is the second penultimate of the first world war when the declaration is issued in the now you have to remember context all the time. from very few. in one nine hundred sixty in the year before the british army has suffered terrible losses in the blood of the western front it's failed to make much headway against the turks we need to remember the ultimate end part of the turks were fighting with germany against the allies against britain and france and russia that's the
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immediate context of it momentous things are happening in february of that year old depending on the calendar seventeen the first part of the russian revolution takes place that's an enormously worrying a vent for the. all the while the zionists are trying to promote their cause to get some kind of backing from the countries the ilo as they hope and believe are going to win the war so that's part of it but in the immediate foreground in november one thousand nine hundred nineteen october and november it's about looking we need i mean war and securing the peace on terms but. britain's in trouble but i want to malta martin you've written about the role the other allies have played a we obsessing too much over the role of britain in that period well i mean first we have to be a bit more precise about what the british thought they were going to achieve by the balfour declaration and the archives have been open for some time so we know exactly what the calculations were the premier one was the belief that two wavering allies the united states which had just come into the war and russia which was
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teetering on the brink of leaving the war could perhaps be brought back into the fight. were the jews in both of those countries to believe that the the end of the war there would be a recognition of jewish rights and they would then exercise influence over their respective governments so this was one factor the other as the war progressed is was the british fear that the france would rival them over control of the holy land they were their premier ally in the course of the war and france had a stronger claim as britain if not a stronger one the idea by taking the design its movement under wing britain could then gain advantage and keep france out was one which had considerable resonance in the bureaucracy and i would just add the calculation on the part of. hi weitzman and the zionist movement this was a period of really growing desperation much of the first world war was fought in the zone of the pale of settlement on the borderlands of germany austria and russia armies went back and forth there were five and a half million jews there and
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a belief that they were going to find themselves in desperate straits and seeking a way out after the war and so weitzman who herself was a russian she was very attuned to the desperation felt by these masses as he called them and he envisioned palestine as a solution to this problem because he knew that the european countries would not throw up in their borders the western european countries were not to open the borders to massive jewish immigration god or the british. made three incompatible promises. to which they could never have have and have kept without injuring somebody along the way certainly the first from east coast to the sheriff hussein of mecca but in return for the arab arab help against the turks the sharif would be allowed or would be helped to get his independent arab kingdom over
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most of the arab world of today and that's what they promised him all these things you know are true but i really must go back to the basic point that that actually there was the sufferings of of the jews in russia and poland so i do question that there was suffering the problem with all this and with the balfour declaration is that what ever explanations we give none of them justified. doing what was done in a country which was already inhabited that's the fundamental flaw in the balfour declaration. that is the fundamental issue in this whole story ok that you're dealing with a country with an indigenous population to me so you cannot go and play on another people in such a country where
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a simple ok i'm going all small to do respond in one moment before i do in do you share go on his view that that is the fundamental flaw in the buffer declaration yes i do you know about that or to russian famously in a very short space has to be very significant qualifications. the first of those is that nothing should be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing jewish communities saying that slowly and enunciating it because it's an absolutely key sentence the existing jewish communities referred to then constituted ninety percent approximately of the population of the country the total population of around seven hundred thousand people and maybe sixty thousand sixty five thousand jews or carry so you have to freeze the existing northern jewish communities that is the source of the fundamental problem with the both a declaration that a promise was made to make a national home in
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a country which ignored the indigenous population there's no way round that malted again i think we have to pull out the camera to take in the bigger picture yes there were seven hundred thousand palestinian arabs actually they were called palestinian arabs at the time an indigenous population as ian and other indicated but there were five and a half million desperate jews who did not enjoy the sedition charge citizenship rights of western europe but were in fact in within the russian empire which includes by the way both russia and poland at the time who are in desperate straits if you say that palestine is not their home then what is their home they are the eternal wanderers interesting interesting it raised that point because of course edward montague who was the only jewish member of the british cabinet at times objected to the balfour declaration on precisely those grounds saying that if we accept the palestine as a home we will be treated eternally as wonders will never be allowed to similate or integrate into our side i think cool zionism
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a mischievous political creed untenable by any patriotic citizen of the united kingdom is it fair to say that at the time zionists were in a minority amongst british jews is that fair it's probably true among separate issues but let's make an important distinction the balfour declaration was. for edwin montague the buffer declaration was not for the jews in germany france england the united states when the one time my son appeared before the versailles peace conference he said that explicitly he talked about the masses and by the masses he meant in particular those of russia he didn't even mean necessarily jews of palestine who were at the time a small minority you didn't need a jewish homeland for sixty five thousand people but you needed something for the larger number and the jewish problem by the way and this is perhaps of interest if you were small jazzier reminds us of the situation regarding muslim refugees today coming to europe but using europe where the ultimate other no one wanted them no one wanted them now i can see now if. i need to stop you martin i need to stop you
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you've put your finger on the problem here which is that the the fate and the destiny or the solution for people suffering. in russia or poland does not it is a non sequitur to say that those people then have to be have their problems solved. in a middle eastern country which is already full of people so that you are only pointing out the floor i've spoken about before it's you you cannot actually. credit you cannot quote the balfour declaration is saying the governor wasn't meant for the jews in germany so it was meant for these poor suffering people but you see the balfour declaration was promising somebody else's country to solve a problem which was nothing to do with the people of that country you surely can
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see the problem there so you cannot modernise just to let martin respond got it you made the point. you are for it yourself is as a direct victim of the balfour declaration there were a number of direct beneficiaries and i think that. let me give you some figures in the one hundred twenty s. because of the balfour declaration by the way the buffer declaration had one major effect it was to say that the jews could come to palestine they were in palestine by right and not on sufferance which meant immigration free immigration in practice the british limited this and they limited it increasingly over the period of mandated but in the one hundred twenty s. one hundred thousand jews came in the one nine hundred thirty s. as hitler came to power two hundred twenty thousand and then mostly illegally between the white paper and one hundred forty eight nine hundred thirty nine the british right off the start of aggression but still one hundred twenty thousand jews managed to come in mostly illegally until one nine hundred forty eight without the balfour declaration without the mandate in particular the most of those four hundred fifty thousand jews would have been dead now this is one of the cruel moral
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calculations of the twentieth century seven hundred thousand palestinians made refugees in one thousand nine hundred seven or four hundred fifty thousand jews left dead we may regret we may regret that the descendants of those jews and the descendants of those palestinians are still in conflict in palestine and the palestinians never had an objection to housing refugees in other words i'm sorry i have to speak like this because this has to be really made clear there was never a problem about admitting people in need whoever they were whether they were jews or whether they were people from chad they came into palestine the problem with zionism is that the people who came in came in with an agenda in order to take over the country make it into a state for themselves at the expense of the native people surely this is obvious i
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surely shouldn't be having to make this point in two thousand and seventeen it's a good point let me put a point in the balfour declaration talks about the jewish national homeland a lot because it didn't say state it didn't say gee. majority state as exists today it didn't say that i mean zionist talked about a state or commonwealth or homeland but the british didn't they chose their words very very deliberately the reason that the balfour declaration is described by many historians as a terrible error was because it created two enemies it created enemies in zionists who were dissatisfied or impatient or furious when policy changes as it did very dramatically and very tragically for them in one thousand thirty nine and it created arab and muslim resentment for the reasons that we've discussed already so it didn't promise a jewish state a jewish state came out at the end it didn't come out at the end with the active
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cooperation by nine hundred forty seven of the british government which actually abstained britain did not support the partition of palestine crucially seventy years ago so it's important to see balfour in its context at the time and of course it's true that by by my calculation by in one thousand nine hundred twenty seven you could have perhaps have changed it by nine hundred thirty seven twenty years after it's simply too late east european anti semitism the rise of hitler in germany and of course it's true it's in juba to be true the lives of hundreds of thousands of jews were saved by the existence of the mandate and that free immigration policy change cruelly in one nine hundred thirty nine at the very moment but the danger without its greatest malton. of course the british in the white paper said we already have a national home we've made our commitment we don't have to create a state of people but six hundred thousand what does six hundred thousand insufficient to create a state this was the underestimation if in one thousand seven hundred the power of
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the jews had been overestimated their influence in st petersburg and washington in one hundred forty seven it was underestimated the cia the pentagon the chiefs of staff british intelligence the arab states the palestinians and even some. commanders in the shu fought that it would be a very hard go in one hundred forty seven to create a state and it could be nipped in the bud what happened in one hundred forty seven . was in a way the jews keeping the promise of the balfour declaration the british didn't keep the promise of the balfour declaration they betrayed it the jews kept the promise of the balfour declaration in one thousand four we say to people who say that the jews who currently run israel the israeli government betrays the second half of the balfour declaration which in mentioned earlier it betrays the part of the buffer the creation which says quote nothing should be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights the indigenous population which balfour rather dismissive is referred to as jewish as if they have no identity of their own but what would you say about that part of his clearly their rights have been prejudiced it could well be argued that there were many occasions since one thousand nine
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hundred seventy even in the partition plan of nine hundred forty seven itself when those rights could have been secured not just civil and religious but political rights in fact in one hundred forty seven in the framework of the partition plan and even earlier in the earlier partition plan even more favorable to the palestinians that resulted from the peel royal commission in one thousand thirty seven the palestinians were offered a state not all of palestine but in part and in one thousand thirty seven in the great majority of palestine and in one hundred forty seven half of palestine so it's not as if that was never on offer it wasn't offered it was an offer from the international community and it was rejected on that occasion thirty seven forty seven and then again and again when it was offered do you not know why do you really not understand why the indigenous population of the native population of palestine which had been subjected to the influx of foreigners into its land foreigners with a sense of entitlement who went around behaving is the place where their own.
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indigenous people off to all this and off to british repression brutality of any kind of demonstration or protest. but against these foreigners coming into that country after all that you really think that the indigenous people would have said that's fine please give half my land to the invaders that's fine as long as i can have half it solves my problem of course that's not what people do that's not how they feel and it's one thing to look back with the wisdom of hindsight and say ah maybe that would have been better than what's happened today that's one thing but we're talking about what people didn't felt at the time when these these so-called offers were made and if you think about it it's fundamentally
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colonialists it's fundamentally unjust to go and partition other people's countries and give them to this group of people of that group of people that is what we have to be and it's fundamentally unjust you know i think it's important to try to see things as they were from a palestinian perspective thirty years after the battle for declaration they were being asked to give up more than half their country to people very sore as foreign settlers at the time i think it was understandable that they rejected it but of course there were terrible consequences which very living with to this day and i'm going to we're running out of time but i know we're discussing history we came here to talk history for this russia but i have to ask you all one hundred years on from balfour do any of you see any kind of resolution on the horizon couldn't even spell out what you think a resolution would. i don't have a solution to the israeli palestinian conflict maybe that makes me
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a minority of analysts and historians in this field. i do see the possibility for coexistence even if i don't see on the horizon a alternate solution on the basis of two states or any other possible formulation because he says exists no one is completely satisfied with its parameters. this is with or without documentation with what i would call the status quo which includes elements of the occupation elements of autonomy elements of self-government. elements of settlement these are all part and parcel of the present status quo no one is professes to be happy with the status quo but it's amazing how whenever it's threatened all sides seem to come together to defend it sustain it it's often said it's unsustainable but i see both the palestinian authority and israel. and even hamas in gaza making efforts to sustain some kind of a livable status quo hopefully this can evolve into something in the future things to start a sustainable possibly no course it's not sustainable you can see it's utterly
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unstable but let me just say in terms of a solution there really isn't a good solution however there is only one way forward and looking at the reality on the ground that's what i'm dealing with the reality on the ground is that israel is in possession of the whole of palestine israel rules the whole of palestine but the problem is that one half of the population that is the people who are not jewish the palestinians have no rights and the other half fundamentally and in order to jews have all the rights now that it seems to me is the only way in which we can see a chink of light for the palestinians to acquire equal rights with the jews on the one rule under one roof. and in that way we might heal and
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repair some of the terrible damage that we've been left with after one hundred years of the balfour declaration and his view that that is the fundamental flaw in about the declaration i don't believe myself there is any other way to resolve this conflict other than by some form of separation partition division of two states but how you get looks increasingly difficult to predict i think the status quo sustainable maybe but in very very difficult circumstances that is certainly not good for the palestinians and i do believe in the long term not good either for people who care about israel and its democracy and the kind of country that it is so there's only one way to resolve it but i don't see it happening any time soon we'll have to leave it there on that note. martin thank you so much for taking time out discussed about full declaration one hundred years on. up front we'll be back next week.
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november. in a historic visit the pope will travel to. focus to the plight of the range at. a new six part series about extraordinary lives of the common people from across. is the u.s. backs away from the paris climate agreement well diplomats will be gathering to restate their commitment. from the heart of asia one when east brings captivated stories and award winning film. as tensions on the korean peninsula remain high president trump embarks on a fine nation to. november on al-jazeera. and
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this is different whether someone thing or someone is very rich is not a weenie tree i think it's not your personal vision and i think it is a certain way of doing it you can't just buy into the story and fly out. somali security forces and the standoff in mogadishu where gunman killed at least twenty three people in coordinated attacks.

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